Teachers oppose takeover plans
Continued from Page 10 Teachers at the Parker
John, president of the
New Bedford Educators
Association, and Parker
Amaral, Kerry Leary
Agashe and Michael
Irving. Irving and
Parker teacher Marcia
Guy are members of
Photo by Laura Barrett
The local associations have made
the case that poverty and the high
needs of their students are at the root
of the low test scores — not poor
performance by teachers.
At Morgan, for example, 98
percent of the students are from
low-income families and 46 percent
are English language learners. The
school is surrounded by boarded-up warehouses. In March, an MTA
Today photo session at the school
was canceled because of a shooting
outside. Only three of 54 students
entered kindergarten knowing their
letters. The school has lost seven
teaching positions over the past three
Margo Ross, a fourth-grade math
teacher, has a class of 28 students, all
but six of whom are either English
language learners, special needs
students or both. Ten of her ELL
students speak little English.
“If kids don’t speak English,
sometimes I pair them up with a student
who is bilingual to translate,” she said.
She has no classroom aides. Aides
and tutors, she said, “would be very
She has a full complement of
computers, but only five of them work.
Transiency is a constant problem.
“I just got four new kids in the last
month,” Ross said. “I had lost one,
who was gone for a while, and then
she came back.”
Ross said that despite all of the
problems, the school has a dedicated
staff, a welcoming atmosphere and
many wonderful students and families.
“I really struggled with the
decision to leave,” she said. “My
own kids went here. Our mayor, Alex
Morse, is a Morgan alumnus who
graduated from Brown University and
was elected mayor at age 22. I love
the Morgan School. I think we were
making enormous strides.”
Although Morgan’s MCAS scores
are low, in many grades the students’
growth scores exceed the state median.
“Teachers here are working really
hard, and so are our students,” said
Ross, a 20-year teacher. “The kids
The teachers at Parker make a
similar case. Many were shocked
that Parker was named a Level 5
school because scores there have been
improving steadily and are higher than
in many other schools across the state.
In fact, Parker was not eligible for
federal improvement funds this year
because student achievement levels
were too high.
“We lost 50 percent of our
teachers last year,” Irving said at the
LSG meeting. “If this plan goes in as
written, many teachers aren’t coming
back. You may disagree, but I think
this will have an enormous negative
impact on the students.”
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